RESIDENTS and farmers have spoken of their fury as the process of burying 150,000 sheep just yards from their homes began at the weekend.

Attention is already turning to where the next burial site will be in County Durham after the carcasses are buried near the villages of Quaking Houses and Annfield Plain near Stanley.

Meanwhile, local people have spoken of their worries about public health after Maff used emergency powers to take over the waste disposal site, despite county council objections.

There have been two separate protests at the Chapman's Well site, which is just 500 yards from Quaking Houses, since the first sheep were buried in the area on Saturday afternoon.

Local people tried to access to the landfill site but were turned away by police on Saturday. Yesterday, up to 100 residents congregated to protest.

Farmer John Kenney said that his Stanley Burn Farm abuts the waste disposal plant at Chapman's Well.

He said: "The news came as an absolute shock. I have a cattle farm and my neighbours are in the middle of lambing.

"I know that they have to have this somewhere but I think we should have at least been informed."

Mother Carole Hampson, of Quaking Houses, has formed a campaign group. She said residents were worried that the nearby Stanley Burn, which runs into the River Wear, would become infected. She said the smell was already appalling.

She added: "We've had to put up with an open cast mine for ten years and have a massive waste disposal dump here. Why us again?"

Resident Chaz Brooks said it had cost £100,000 to get Stanley Burn cleaned up during the past three years. "Now we will go back to square one," he said.

Maff has stressed that burying the infected sheep does not pose a threat to human health.

A public meeting will be held at Quaking Houses village hall tomorrow, at 6pm.

Representatives of Maff, the Environment Agency and the county council have been invited.

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